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Depending on how much is taken and the physical condition of the individual, alcohol can cause:

  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach
  • Headaches
  • Breathing difficulties 
  • Distorted vision and hearing 
  • Impaired judgment 
  • Decreased perception and coordination 
  • Unconsciousness 
  • Anemia (loss of red blood cells) 
  • Coma
  • Blackouts (memory lapses, where the drinker cannot remember events that occurred while under the influence)

Long-term effects of alcohol

Binge drinking and continued alcohol use in large amounts are associated with many health problems, including:

  • Unintentional injuries such as car crash, falls, burns, drowning 
  • Intentional injuries such as firearm injuries, sexual assault, domestic violence
  • Increased on-the-job injuries and loss of productivity 
  • Increased family problems, broken relationships 
  • Alcohol poisoning 
  • High blood pressure, stroke, and other heart-related diseases 
  • Liver disease 
  • Nerve damage 
  • Sexual problems 
  • Permanent damage to the brain 
  • Vitamin B1 deficiency, which can lead to a disorder characterized by amnesia, apathy and disorientation 
  • Ulcers 
  • Gastritis (inflammation of stomach walls) 
  • Malnutrition 
  • Cancer of the mouth and throat

“My addiction built steadily and, before I realized it, I had become a morning as well as an afternoon drinker.

“I decided to stop drinking. I lay awake most of that night, and by noon the next day every bone in my body ached. In a blind panic, I nervously poured a glass full of gin, my hands shaking so violently that I spilled half the bottle. As I gulped it down, I could feel the agony gradually lessening. Then I finally knew the terrible truth: I was hooked. I couldn’t quit.”


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  2. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
  3. “Alcohol and Underage Drinking,” School of Public Health at John Hopkins University
  4. “Results from the 2005 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings,” SAMHSA
  5. “2007 Traffic Safety Annual Assessment—Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities,” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, August 2008
  6. “Alcohol and Crime,” U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics
  7. “Alcohol-related assault: findings from the British Crime Survey,” UK Home Office Online Report
  8. “Statistics on Alcohol: England, 2007,” National Health Service (UK)
  9. “Alcohol in Europe: A Public Health Perspective,” Institute of Alcohol Studies (UK)
  10. “Alcohol Use Disorders: Alcohol Liver Diseases and Alcohol Dependency,” Warren Kaplan, Ph.D., JD, MPH, 7 Oct 2004
  11. “Alcohol and the Brain,” University of Washington
  12. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General
  13. Encyclopedia Britannica
  14. “Alcohol Intoxification,”
  15. “Alcohol Alert,” U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, April 2006
  16. Mothers Against Drunk Driving
  17. "Teen Drivers: Fact Sheet," Centers for Disease Control